From anxiety and depression to substance abuse and suicidal ideation, the issues facing physicians today — on the tail end (hopefully) of the pandemic — are stark.
Navigating a path to normalcy post-pandemic isn’t something many physicians are able to do on their own. They need a wealth of support from friends, family, colleagues, governing bodies, and from their employers.
In order for provider organizations to succeed coming out of the pandemic, they need physicians practicing at the top of their game. More so, patients need physicians who are bringing their best selves to work each day so that they can acutely focus on their care needs. It is simply not possible to do so when you are reliving the immense professional and personal strains from the last year.
In order to help physicians get back to practicing good medicine and caring for patients, providers, industry, and also patients should consider prioritizing the following:
- Reduce Administrative Burdens. Mounting administrative burdens were a massive issue before the pandemic. The same issues remain: frustrations with electronic health records, annoyances with incomplete clinical documentation to align with risk-based contracts, and day-to-day paperwork such as pre-authorizations that continue to pile up despite our greatest efforts. Addressing unnecessary administrative burdens, such as clinician documentation improvement, isn’t a tough fix. It takes an investment in people, process, and technology. Take the time to listen and collaborate with physicians now and these administrative burdens will move from massive, demotivating roadblocks to minor issues in due time.
- Destigmatize Mental Health. It is a poor business decision to not invest time and resources in building a culture where provider mental health is a top priority. The more we pretend that physicians shouldn’t speak up about mental health, the greater these issues will become. Provider organizations and their payer partners that invest in building transparency and authenticity in discussions regarding mental health, while also providing access to services and support for physician mental health, will be best suited to optimize long-term performance, reduce clinical mistakes, and improve patient outcomes.
- Embrace More Flexible Ways To Practice Good Medicine. Virtual care has opened up a host of new opportunities for physicians — allowing them to take a more entrepreneurial approach to medicine — and an approach that allows them to better balance life and work. Provider organizations have the opportunity to embrace these emerging models of virtual and in-home care which allow clinicians to practice in ways that allow them to operate at the top of their license and prioritize family in tandem.
As an industry and as physicians, we are due for a massive reset in the year ahead. For provider organizations and payers considering the path forward post-pandemic, it is critical that they prioritize and address the three areas mentioned above. Doing so will improve the practice of medicine for physicians, patients, and the industry at large.
Read more about our recent thought leadership and media coverage on reducing physician burden at the point of care or join our expert panel with the E-Health Initiative on May 26 at 1 p.m. – WEBINAR: Paging Dr. Burnout: Why Technology Should Improve, Not Impede, Physician Experience and Patient Care | eHealth Initiative (ehidc.org)